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How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways [Poem]

Posted: December 24, 2015

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The poem here describes the author’s intense love for books in evocative verse. The books define her, and make up a large part of her life. Read this third winning entry for our December Book Talk theme.

This December Women’s Web, with JustBooks, is running Book Talk, a writing theme where you get to write (read) about books that inspire us. 

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For December, our writing cue was:“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.” ― Anna Quindlen,How Reading Changed My Life.  


Our third winning entry is by Sandhya Renukamba.

I first encountered you many, many years ago.

So long ago, that I do not even remember that first meeting now.

What I do remember, is that not a day would go by that I could be separated from you.

I would have you with me at all times; yes, even in my dreams.

When forced to be separated from you in the mundane drudgery of everyday living, I would sometimes pause at whatever I was doing, and remember the feel of you, the smell of you, the way I lost myself in your worlds, the way you transported me above everything I knew.

Everyone, but everyone knew of our love.

You were the one I was recognised by.

You became my reason for living.

I waited for those brief periods in which I could have you with me.

I learnt so much more from you than by any other means.

You gave me my joy, my laughter, my tears, my anger, my thoughts, my dreams, my very way of life.

Often, you would disappoint me, not measuring up to your promise, but I never give up hope, seeking you in ever newer forms.

Some people count their life in years, some by their friends.

I count my life by your presence in it.

My love for you has brought me my riches in the form of my friends…

If I could not have you around, life as I know it will no longer be the same.

I reach out to you first thing in morning, keep you close through the day, and often fall asleep with your reassuring presence near me.

My home is a temple to you; everywhere I look, you are there, in forms more numerous than I can count.

I shall have you near me forever, through happiness and grief, through sickness and health, till death do us part.

My books, and my love for them, will be my legacy to my daughter.

To hold close and carry forward.


Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.

The prize

Sandhya wins a Rs.500 voucher for this entry, from JustBooks, India’s First & Largest Community Library Chain. 

JustBooks gives you (and your entire family, from toddlers to teens, dabblers to bookworms), a wide selection of 9 lakh books on an affordable membership plan! You can read unlimited books and at your leisure with no late fee. Don’t forget to check out their excellent reading list for women, and other book recommendations!

JustBooks stocks books in 8 regional languages and offers door delivery services in 36 cities including Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad.

Cover image via Shutterstock

In her role as the Senior Editor & Community Manager at Women's Web, Sandhya

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